Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Richard Glick

Rick Glick focuses on environmental, water and energy law, representing businesses and local governments in a wide range of environmental matters. He counsels clients on regulatory compliance, permitting for major infrastructure projects, water rights, water quality permitting and certifications, wetlands, endangered species and environmental impact review; assists in assessing and managing environmental risk associated with business or real estate transactions; and represents clients before the state and federal agencies in Superfund, environmental cleanup, permitting and enforcement actions.

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California Court Holds Public Trust Doctrine Applies to Groundwater Impacts on Surface Streams

Posted in California, Water Law
In Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board, the California Court of Appeal for the Third District on August 29, 2018 affirmed a district court’s application of the Public Trust Doctrine to the impact of groundwater wells on the Scott River in Siskiyou County. The case has far-reaching implications for groundwater use in… Continue Reading

Trump Track: WOTUS Lives! . . . at Least in Half the States (for Now)

Posted in Environmental Quality, EPA, Trump Track, Water Law
On August 16, a federal judge in South Carolina invalidated the Trump Administration’s suspension of the rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), under the Clean Water Act. In South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt, the court found that the notice-and-comment opportunity supporting the Suspension Rule was too narrow and thus violated the… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Sinks FERC Hydro License for Failure to Adequately Consider Past Environmental Harm

Posted in Electric Power, FERC, Natural Resources, Renewables, Water Law
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit torpedoed a hydroelectric license issued in 2013 to Alabama Power Company because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) “declined to factor in the decades of environmental damage already wrought by exploitation of the waterway for power generation and that damage’s continuing ecological… Continue Reading

Big Tribal Victory in Culvert Case, Big Implications for Taxpayers

Posted in Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, Rulemakings
On June 11, the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order affirming the Ninth Circuit’s 2016 judgment in United States v. State of Washington. In that case, the federal government sued Washington on behalf of several Indian tribes, asserting that culverts constructed by the state over decades blocked salmon runs for which the tribes held treaty… Continue Reading

Trump Track: Portland Harbor Reset Redux

Posted in EPA, Trump Track
Last Thursday, I posted about EPA apparently looking at resetting the approach to the Portland Harbor Superfund site.  I believe that the cost associated with the cleanup plan contained in Region 10’s Record of Decision (ROD) is out of proportion to the environmental benefits it would achieve, and despite the 17 years it has taken… Continue Reading

Trump Track: EPA Beginning Anew at Portland Harbor Superfund Site?

Posted in CERCLA, Trump Track
Although no official pronouncement has been issued, it appears that EPA Headquarters is looking at resetting the scoreboard for the Portland Harbor Superfund site. EPA had already signaled  that it would be reviewing significant, long-unresolved Superfund sites with an eye toward streamlining the process.  However, the latest action on Portland Harbor may have the opposite… Continue Reading

A Win for Appropriative Water Rights

Posted in NEPA, Water Law
In an unpublished opinion released August 24th, the Ninth Circuit rejected a long waged effort to upend the City of Bend’s water planning by forcing it to abandon its vested surface water rights in favor of an all-groundwater supply. As is often the case, plaintiffs chose a somewhat oblique attack on the City’s water planning,… Continue Reading

Trump Track: Executive Order To Speed Infrastructure Projects

Posted in Trump Track
On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued yet another executive order (EO) intended to speed environmental review of infrastructure projects. His first executive order with that objective, issued January 24, 2017, was devoid of detail and largely hortatory.  The August EO, is more detailed, but is merely aimed at implementing legislation passed during the Clinton… Continue Reading

Trump Track: Environmental Policy Changes

Posted in Environmental Quality, Federal, Trump Track
While the Trump Administration has struggled overall to develop and implement coherent policies, the Administration has had some success in the environmental sphere. Through a series of presidential memoranda, executive orders, agency administrative notices, and legislative action, there is a lot of change in the air (no pun intended). DWT has undertaken to track developments… Continue Reading

The Yanomami Model for Superfund

Posted in CERCLA, Environmental Quality
In a recent editorial, the Wall Street Journal celebrates the new priorities being set by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.  Mr. Pruitt, in the Journal’s opinion, is properly elevating the “more immediate” problem of Superfund sites over the “religion” of climate change.  Sadly, it seems, the misguided and naïve Obama Administration preferred “symbolic” climate measures over the… Continue Reading

WOTUS, We Hardly Knew Ye

Posted in Water Law
With a flourish of his pen, on February 28 President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at dismantling the ill-fated Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.  The rule was the latest attempt by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to bring some clarity to the limits of federal authority under the Clean Water Act. … Continue Reading

Senate Approves $4.9 Billion for Drinking Water

Posted in Federal, Water Law
Congress in recent years has not really been in the business of solving core public welfare problems like safe drinking water.  Today the Senate, however, has taken a major step forward by passing the 2016 Water Resources and Development Act, S. 2848.  WRDA bills are the annual appropriations bills to shore up the nation’s water… Continue Reading

Whither WOTUS?

Posted in EPA, Federal, Water Law
In June 2015, EPA and the Corps of Engineers released a rule to define “waters of the United States,” affectionately referred to as WOTUS.  This definition goes to the scope of federal jurisdiction over wetlands and other waters that are not obviously free flowing and navigable.  An in-depth analysis of the rule can be found… Continue Reading

Unanimous Support for Conservation in Senate Appropriations Committee

Posted in Environmental Quality, Rulemakings, Water Law
Who knew?  On May 19 those wild eyed environmentalists on the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously (no misprint) passed a FY 2017 agriculture and rural development bill that includes significant funding for conservation work.  The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote, and if it passes, back to the House for reconciliation.… Continue Reading

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

Posted in Climate Change, Litigation, Northwest
A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change.  Like a similar case brought by the same plaintiffs a few years ago in state court, discussed below, the federal case seeks a declaration that government inaction violates… Continue Reading

Curiouser and Curiouser: Sixth Circuit Not Sure of Jurisdiction but Stays WOTUS Rule Anyway

Posted in EPA, Rulemakings, Water Law
Does this make sense to you?  Eighteen states petitioned the Sixth Circuit to challenge the new rule adopted by EPA and the Corps of Engineers defining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.  Then the petitioners move the court to dismiss their own petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but at… Continue Reading